Mumbai university staff don’t know what the term ‘learning disability’ means, say students | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai university staff don’t know what the term ‘learning disability’ means, say students

Mumbai colleges are also unaware of the new rule regarding grace marks awarded to students with learning disabilities

mumbai Updated: Sep 03, 2017 00:11 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Mumbai, India - May 12, 2015: Restoration of The Library and Rajabai Clock Tower at University of Mumbai, Churchgate in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. (Photo by Kunal Patil/ Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - May 12, 2015: Restoration of The Library and Rajabai Clock Tower at University of Mumbai, Churchgate in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. (Photo by Kunal Patil/ Hindustan Times)(HT File Photo)

If not being informed about the change in rules for grace marks was not bad enough, students said they also had to deal with staff at the help desk set up by the University of Mumbai, who said they were unaware of the term ‘learning disability’ (LD).

“I had to first explain what the term meant and then tell them how I was eligible for 20 grace marks according to an order passed by the Bombay high court. I was told that MU had conveniently changed this rule,” said a law student, who did not wish to be identified. He was informed that according to the new rule, even LD students were only eligible for 3% of the semester’s total marks as grace marks.

One of the students visiting the help desk on Friday told HT that he fell short of 18 marks to clear the year. “Since the original rule was that a student is awarded 20% of the subject’s marks — which, in my case, is 20 marks — I was hopeful of passing the semester. Now I’m unsure,” he said.

Experts unhappy
  • Experts were unhappy with MU’s decision to implement the rule without ensuring that all students were aware of it first.
  • “The state government had given colleges two years to implement these changes. Colleges should have been informed first and awareness programs should have been held at institutes before officially implementing this rule,” said psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty.
  • In 2015, he had filed a petition in the high court demanding equal concessions for students with LD in schools and colleges.
  • The court had ordered all boards and state universities to ensure that these concessions were implemented with immediate effect.

Colleges were also unaware of the new rule. “We were told that this rule was changed during the academic year and that a circular was sent to all colleges. I checked with my college, while my friends checked with other institutes. It seems as though no one is aware of this rule,” said a law student from K C College, Churchgate.

Some students also visited Nair Hospital, one of the centres where LD is diagnosed. They said staff were unaware of the change in rule. “No such change has been shared with us,” said an official on duty at Nair Hospital.

According to the Bombay high court ruling in November 2015, all LD students in schools — irrespective of affiliated board — and universities are eligible for concessions during exams. These include an extra 30 minutes to complete the written paper, 20% of the total paper’s marks if the student failed, a writer in special cases and a choice of exam centre close to home.

MU controller of examination on in-charge duty, Arjun Ghatule, said the new rule came into effect four months ago. “We are following the state government’s orders and had released a circular in March. Colleges should be aware of this,” said Ghatule. A government resolution passed in the first week of March extended concessions to 21 other forms of disabilities. It mentioned 3% of the total score as grace marks for students with LD.